Most people in the fitness industry find it hard to believe that you can add muscle to your physique without eating meat, poultry, fish and eggs. For the past three years I wanted to show others that it is possible to get fit on a meat-free diet so I decided to enter a fitness competition where my diet was not just a vegan diet, but a high raw vegan diet.
I decided to see how far I can go with this dietary lifestyle and decided to embark on an unusual fitness journey. I say unusual because there are not many people in the fitness competition world who eat a strictly vegan diet, let alone one that incorporates raw and living foods. The traditional diet consists of protein from predominantly animal sources.
In June 2008, I entered my first Fitness Bikini competition and placed 3rd in the Masters Division. In 2009, I decided to give it another try and enter the Figure category. This required me to put on more muscle. Now, I am always up for a challenge when someone tells me that I can't build muscle on a vegan, let alone a raw diet (or as my friend and trainer extraordinaire, Andre calls it, a "hippie" diet). So I set out to beat that challenge. I am proud to say that not only did I gain more muscle, but in November 2009 I placed second at the IDFA (International Drug Free Association) show in Toronto, Ontario, in the Novice Figure, Short Division. I didn't stop there - this year I entered my third competition with the Ontario Physique Association (OPA) and placed 4th in the Women's Open Division and 3rd in the Women's Master Division, allowing me to compete at the Provincial level which is taking place this weekend, Saturday June 19th in London, Ontario.
Many have asked what my diet consist of. Depending on the season and where I am in my training regime, my diet consists of 90 to 100 per cent raw foods with the exception of some steamed vegetables and, on occasion, tempeh or tofu. My favorite muscle building proteins are wheatgrass, E3live, Sunwarrior and Hemp Protein powder. I also like some nuts, seeds, leafy greens and sprouts. I have included my recipe for my current favorite meal which is my Sunwarrior Porridge for Champions.
I was on a personal mission to see how far a raw food diet could take me in these competitions. I didn't expect to come out with any trophies; however I would not have had it any other way.
I wanted to give a big thank you to all the people who I have met along the way who have shared their stories. I also send out a bigger thank you to those that have supported, motivated and inspired me including my family, friends, coaches and mentors. A special thank you to everyone on this journey of living foods who has educated me or inspired me in some way, some of whom I have met and some I have yet to meet. If it were not for their knowledge and wisdom, I may not have ever embarked on this journey.
So if you have something that you are passionate about, please share it with us. Drop us a line - we would love to hear from you and pass your thoughts on to others.
May OPA show photos will be posted soon on my blog.